Local Information

Big changes ahead for Seattle Ferry Terminal drivers as Colman Dock construction expands

Tuesday, September 25, 2018 - 14:00

Broch Bender, communications, 206-305-5516

Bainbridge, Bremerton vehicle holding lanes moving and shrinking this fall

SEATTLE – People who drive on or off a ferry in Seattle will experience several changes this fall as the construction zone to replace Washington’s largest ferry terminal expands.

The first modification starts Wednesday, Sept. 26. Both the Bainbridge Island and Bremerton vehicle holding lanes will move to new locations and shrink in size as available space on the dock becomes more limited.

“There will be less and less room on the dock to hold waiting traffic, especially north of the terminal building where most of the demolition and construction will occur,” said Construction Engineer Bryant Bullamore. “We know this may be confusing at first, especially for people who regularly drive onto Colman Dock. However, reconfiguring the available space for waiting vehicles makes it possible for us to replace the aging and seismically-vulnerable terminal, while accommodating as many cars as possible.”       

Drivers should watch for signs and follow ferry terminal crew directions at the toll plaza during the next several months, as available space for vehicle holding becomes even more limited later this fall and into 2019. When the dock is full, all overflow vehicle traffic will be directed to wait in nearby holding lanes on Pier 48, a few blocks south of the terminal.

Vehicle holding lanes moving for all outbound sailings

Starting Sept. 26, the Bainbridge Island vehicle holding lanes will move to the south side of the terminal building where Bremerton vehicles currently wait and the Bremerton lanes will shift to the north side where Bainbridge vehicles currently wait. This swap will maximize remaining room on the dock and eliminate loading conflicts between destinations.

The Bainbridge Island waiting area south of the terminal building will hold up to 194 vehicles, only seven cars fewer than the vessels on that route. The Bremerton waiting area in the north will hold 110 vehicles, 30 fewer than vessels on that route.  Vehicles from the off-site holding lanes will be loaded to finish filling the boat.

The slip where vessels pull in and push out for each destination will also swap to correspond with the new waiting locations. Staging vehicles near the slip they use increases loading efficiency and reduces the number of vehicles that would need to wait at nearby Pier 48. Starting Sept. 26, sailings will arrive and depart from the following slips:

  • Bremerton: Slip 3 (northernmost slip)
  • Bainbridge Island: Slip 2 (center slip)

Upcoming weekend closure of two of three slips and adjusted sailing schedules

For one weekend in late October, all Bainbridge Island and Bremerton sailings will share a single open slip, and weekend sailing schedules for both routes will be adjusted to accommodate the shared slip. Very few sailings will be canceled, but departure times on sailings throughout the day will shift between five and 30 minutes on most sailings to and from Seattle. The adjusted schedule will be made available in early October.

Colman Dock is Washington State’s largest ferry terminal and supports transportation across Puget Sound between downtown Seattle and communities in Kitsap County and the Olympic Peninsula. More than 9 million people use the terminal each year, but it is aging and vulnerable to earthquake damage. Construction to replace the terminal began in August 2017 and will continue until 2023.

Washington State Ferries, a division of the Washington State Department of Transportation, is the largest ferry system in the U.S. and safely and efficiently carries nearly 25 million people a year through some of the most majestic scenery in the world. For breaking news and the latest information, follow WSF on Twitter.

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